Random Thoughts

June 27, 2008

Slashdot | Intentional GPS Jamming On the Increase

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 5:12 am

“Here’s yet another way to measure the success of GPS: by the efforts to negate it. While unintentional jamming continues to rise, intentional jamming by both foreign military forces and at-home miscreants of various stripes also has shown increased vigor in the past six months. Related here are recent instances of intentional jamming on each side of the border, and (briefly outlined) one initiative mounted by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) to counteract it. Also here ways to detect and prevent jamming.”

Slashdot | Intentional GPS Jamming On the Increase

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January 29, 2008

BoingBoing: MythBusters tackles “plane on a conveyor belt problem”

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 11:29 am
200801281104Last night I spoke to Adam Savage, co-host of MythBusters. He’s in Alaska, where current temperatures range between 0 to 30 degrees below zero. He just finished a test on “cabin fever” (he wouldn’t say how long he lasted before murdering his cabin mates and running out into the frozen wilderness wearning nothing but longjohns and a sleeping cap) and is now working on another episode up in the 49th state.

But the real reason I talked to him was to find out about the next episode of MythBusters (airing this Wednesday). It tackles the famous “plane on a conveyor belt problem,” that has pitted brother against brother and friend against friend for years.

To get to the bottom of the thought-problem, Adam and Jamie used a real plane, in this case a 400-lb ultralight, and a large conveyor belt. Did the plane take off? You’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out, but Adam said even the pilot guessed wrong.


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January 28, 2008

This is for me: iVideosongs Teaches You How To Be A Real Guitar Hero

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 8:02 am

ivideo-logo.pngFor any aspiring guitarists out there, here is a site for you. iVideosongs is launching at DEMO today after two years in the making. It offers video tutorials on how to play guitar from world-class instructors, musicians and sidemen. You won’t find instruction videos from Slash here (yet), but there are guitar videos from Graham Nash, John Oates, and Alex Lifeson (the guitarist from Rush). This site seems to be aimed squarely at the aging Baby Boomer male who still wans to play guitar. And there are a lot of those. But, actually, anyone can learn from the videos, which are quite good. The videos are large and clearly show closeups of exactly what you need to do.

The startup was founded in 2006, and has raised $3 million in angel funding. It’s spent the past two years licensing rights to song libraries from all the major music publishers. The site offers some free tutorial videos, but most cost $5 (for instructor videos) or $10 (for artist videos). Compare this to $35 to $40 an hour for guitar lessons.

ivideosongs-5.pngThat’s the beauty of the Internet: you can be taught by the best instructors at a fraction of what they would charge you for a one-on-one session. With each download, you get one song, broken up into bite-sized chapters for learning a song’s intro, verse, chorus, bridge, and outro. Artist videos also include interiews where they talk about their influences, guitar-picking history, and inspiration for a particular song. The site is launching with a catalog of 50 songs, plus 25 free tutorials. By the end of the year, it hopes to have 1,000 different songs. Instructions for how to play the drums and keyboard are available as well.

Here are some more screen shots:



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December 15, 2007

Wkd Prediction: ‘I Am Legend’ $60+M

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 4:11 pm

 alvinandthechipmunks_galleryposter.jpg iamlegend_galleryfinal.jpg

Quick numbers for this weekend’s movie releases from my box office gurus: Warner Bros I Am Legend opens closer to $60 million than $50 million in 3,606 theaters demonstrating that Will Smith is the biggest stud at the box office bar none. (One bold analyst actually predicted a $65 mil opening, and that’s in Lord Of the Rings territory for a Christmas release of this genre.) The guaranteed hit movie will be badly needed life preserver for Warner Pictures’ drowning movie division. That 20th Century Fox remake of baby boomer favorite Alvin And The Chipmunks will wind up closer to $30 million than $20 million in its 3,475 venue debut. Mothers especially felt predisposed to take their kids to see The Munks. (Can anyone actually understand anything that Alvin says?) And look for the bottom to fall out of costly domestic flop The Golden Compass from New Line, which forked out $200+ million to make it, in its second weekend in release from 3,528 nearly empty runs. I hear studio topper Bob Shaye once again is blaming the director, in this case Chris Weitz, but also his own prez of production Toby Emmerich.

December 7, 2007

Western Digital network drives crippled — no serving any multimedia files

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 6:12 am

Gary sez, “This is the most extreme example I’ve seen yet of tech companies crippling data devices in order to please Hollywood: Western Digital is disabling sharing of any avi, divx, mp3, mpeg, and many other files on its network connected devices; due to unverifiable media license authentication’. Just wondering — who needs a 1 Terabyte network-connected hard drive that is prohibited from serving most media files? Perhaps somebody with 220 million pages of .txt files they need to share?”


(Thanks, Gary!)

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December 5, 2007

The Writers Strike Aftermath

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 9:41 am

tvfuzz6.pngDue to the writers strike, I’ve been keeping a running tab at how many television episodes remain and it’s beginning to look pretty grim. Here’s a rundown of the casualties and where a few favorite television shows stand:

Season Canceled

24 was set to premier in January 2008. Fox wanted to air all 24 episodes without interruption, and since they haven’t all been filmed, there’ll be no 24 this winter.

Zero Episodes Remain

Heroes, Desperate Housewives, Big Bang Theory, Bionic Woman, The Family Guy, The Office, Reaper, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half Men

1 Episode Remains

Chuck, Criminal Minds, Girlfriends, Life, Pushing Daisies, Shark

2 Episodes Remain

Back to You, Dirty Sexy Money, Grey’s Anatomy, K-Ville, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Moonlight, My Name is Earl, Private Practice

3 Episodes Remain

Bones, Brothers and Sisters, CSI, Dirt, House, Journeyman, Numbers

For a complete listing of remaining shows, including air dates and information on other shows premiering in 2008, check out the frequently updated Brent Evans Geek Tonic: How Many TV Shows Remain.


December 4, 2007

Zat’s Not Funny: TiVo Adds Picasa Albums and Photbucket

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 9:15 am


Broadband-connected TiVo units can now access Picasa Web Albums (Google) and Photobucket images. From the press release:

“By working with these well-respected and popular photo-sharing partners TiVo enables families to share their pictures in new, fun ways. TiVo continues to show our commitment to differentiated product offerings by allowing subscribers to share their memories on the best picture frame in the house – – their television.” Photos will be displayed at the highest possible resolution on each TiVo box, meaning TiVo Series3™ and TiVo HD subscribers can see their memories in full high definition.

The original (and now dead) Yahoo Photos widget is still listed within the Music, Photos, & More menu, though it remains to be seen if it will ultimately be replaced with a Flickr stub incorporated into this new Photos and Slideshows widget. I haven’t really put the photo apps through their paces yet (I’m on the road this week), but did notice some of my pics appear as broken images (shown below) and wonder why the new HME app is buried so far down the menu. However, I do prefer the idea of accessing already-organized online photos rather than keeping a local computer running to feed the TiVo (via TiVo Desktop software).

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November 20, 2007

Grey Cup or Bust: Rider Head to Toronto

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 3:14 pm
The Saskatchewan Roughriders left for Toronto on Tuesday morning, taking the hopes and dreams of a football-crazed province with them.

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November 16, 2007

Parks Canada sets sights on predators to curb Banff elk population

Filed under: Cool Stuff, Uncategorized — doctorfeelgood @ 10:42 pm

Wildlife experts at Banff National Park are hoping to give nature’s predators a helping hand to control an exploding elk population that’s getting a little too close to the Banff townsite.

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November 11, 2007

Get in that Ass Larry – from YouTube pirated from ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Filed under: Cool Stuff — doctorfeelgood @ 9:23 pm

Embedded Video

Flock says it can blog video – hmm.

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